I was on duty at my tennis club on Tuesday so I was on the court as opposed to watching tennis for the first few hours! Building on my mixed doubles triumph at the weekend, I actually played well! I was struggling with my serve as it was quite windy and I was often serving into it. Otherwise, I felt much more comfortable at the net and was hitting my backhand better than I have done for the most of the year. After three doubles sets (two wins and one loss), I ended with a singles set which I won, 6-2. I managed to hit a few flashy passing shot winners!
Then it was back to watch the professionals… I was stunned to check the live scoreboard and see the first result from Stanford where the 18-year-old, Caroline Dolehide, won her first ever WTA main draw match with a 6-4 6-2 victory over Naomi Osaka.
The second match on the schedule in Stanford went more with the form book. Alison Riske maintained her 100% record over Magda Linette, rallying from 2-4 down in the second set to win in straights, 6-2 6-4.
Linette’s unforced error count was her undoing in the first set, but she improved significantly in the second set and even had a break point to lead 5-2. Riske was resilient, fighting back to level terms and then holding serve at 4-4 with two fab points from 30-30 . Riske won a lengthy opening point, turning defence into attack, as Linette served to stay in the match and eventually broke to 15 for the win.
CoCo Vandeweghe advanced to an all-American second rounder against Nicole Gibbs after her first round opponent, Ajla Tomljanovic was forced to retire with a shoulder injury after one set. Here’s hoping it’s nothing serious.
While I was sleeping….
CiCi Bellis opened her Stanford campaign with an excellent win over Alizé Cornet, 6-3 6-2. Kateryna Bondarenko also progressed to the second round in straight sets with a 6-3 6-4 victory over Francesca Schiavone.
Bellis’s press conference is linked below from the Bank of the West Classic’s Facebook page. CiCi spoke about how Stanford and the US Open are her two favourite events on the tour.
Wednesday’s line-up of second round matches is pretty dishy! First up is a very intriguing match between Ana Konjuh and Natalia Vikhlyantseva with the Russian player winning their only previous match on the grass courts of ‘s-Hertogenbosch earlier this year, 6-3 7-5. Maria Sharapova is also in action against Lesia Tsurenko, while Madison Keys and Garbiñe Muguruza will play their first matches of the tournaments. Who you got?
In Washington, the match of the day was up first on Stadium between the number one seed, Simona Halep and Sloane Stephens. I was playing tennis at the time but caught up on the first set with WTA TV (woop!). It took a few hours to come up on “On Demand”. I didn’t have high hopes having seen the final match stats (see below). It was understandable again with most players back to hard courts for the first time in a while.
Halep was missing a lot of returns and she has spoken before about not liking the heat so conditions were not ideal. For Stephens, she was creating some openings but making a ton of errors. It seemed like her footwork was off, which makes sense since she has been out for a year with a foot injury! I think it will take time and she just needs more matches. The American was dropping some F-bombs after the first set and was very frustrated.
Nothing special from Halep but she got the win and came through in straights, 7-6(3) 6-0. The Romanian player gets another match and will play Mariana Duque-Mariño on Thursday.
Also in D.C., Patricia Maria Tig snapped a seven match losing streak and won her first match since Miami, defeating Heather Watson in two tiebreak sets, 7-6(4) 7-6(3).
I watched the end of the match where Tig was making more errors, but was the more positive of the two. Watson saved a pair of match points to stay in contention and even had a break point at 5-5, wasting it with an over-ambitious return. Tig always had the edge in the second set tiebreak and sealed the win by virtue of a double fault by Watson on match point.
I really hoped that Heather might push on after Eastbourne and Wimbledon but sadly we’ve been here before. This was a decent draw and she had a lot of chances in the first set. Hopefully she can put this loss behind her. Tig could face an all-Romanian second round match with Monica Niculescu or Nanchang finalist, Nao Hibino.
The D.C. line-up was thwarted by rain and a mix of first and second round matches are on Wednesday’s bumper schedule.
Monday was All-Access Hour in Stanford and the tournament did a great job of posting press conferences on their Facebook page. Petra Kvitova spoke about her return to the tour at the French Open. I love her laugh when she said that winning Birmingham was “very weird”.
I’d love to witness a Madison Keys press conference in person one day!
Simona Halep’s pre-tournament press from Monday was posted on the Citi Open Facebook page. It was interesting to hear that she requested a wild card for Stanford but was not granted one.
Furthermore, here’s a great interview with Simona from the Washington Post Facebook page with Kelyn Soong. Simona talks again about requesting a wild card for Stanford and Washington, and her love of angles, both in mathematics and on the court!
This was fun! 😂
After missing Charleston this year, Petra Kvitova is already confirmed for the 2018 edition!
And finally, this is huge news for ATP coverage in the UK.
Please note that I am out all day on Wednesday so there will be no post.